Overcome emotional eating with these simple tactics!
Emotional eating is the term used when people use food to hide from, cope with or even celebrate intense human emotions. Emotional eating can be triggered by stress, fatigue, boredom or emotions such as loneliness or sadness. When turning to food for a sense of comfort or stress, it is important to know that you are not alone.
Emotional eating is a habit that many people have formed as a self-soothing technique. In this article, we'll look at some common triggers for emotional eating and some simple tricks you can apply to overcome emotional eating for good!
Stress is one of the main triggers when it comes to emotional eating. Stressful situations and stressful inputs such as work-related stress, financial stress or family-related stress can all potentially drive us to eat to relieve the feelings associated with the situation in question.
In order to avoid stress eating, it is important to get in touch with your own hunger pangs so that you can recognize whether you are truly hungry or whether you are turning to food for comfort and stress relief. When you are struggling with the urge to open the fridge, use a mindfulness practice to be in the moment and observe what is happening. The pause should help you better understand the reasons behind your cravings.
Simple trick 1: take deep breaths
Yes, it sounds simple, but there's a reason deep breathing is at the top of the list of almost all meditation or de-stressing, and that's because it works. Close your eyes and take deep breaths for 3-5 minutes, filling your belly with air and pushing it all out.
Simple Trick 2: Drinking Water or Tea
Water and tea are not only healthy and hydrating, but they can also distract you from any stress-eating hunger feelings. Many of us confuse hunger with thirst, not just in times of stress, but all the time. If you feel hungry, see if a large glass of water will satiate you first.
Intermittent fasting can be a way to be mindful of your eating. Also check out The blog about intermittent fasting.
Eating when you're exhausted
It's super common to crave food when you're tired or fatigued. If you've been sitting at a computer for hours on end and can barely ask your brain to make another decision, it might seem like an easy, convenient response.
Simple trick: If you find yourself turning emotionally to food when you are overtired or burned out, a great way to distract yourself from this trigger is to take a break from the activity that is causing the fatigue. Take a nap, go outside, take a walk or do some household chores. Give yourself a chance to completely reset before returning to the activity in question.
Eating when bored
Another common trigger is boredom. Between the constant influx of activities and stimulation by screens, we are no longer used to the feeling of boredom and it makes us feel uncomfortable and alone. Without adequate strategies, boredom can lead to eating or overeating, because eating is, well, something to do.
Simple trick: make a list of possible activities you can do to relieve boredom. Think: read a book, play a game, do some laundry, do some gardening, etc. Keep this list handy for when the urge strikes.
Emotional eating of loneliness or sadness
Many of us use food to avoid unpleasant emotions. Food can be a way to calm our emotions, but also a way to distract us from them. While eating, you may feel some relief from the emotion, but as soon as you finish eating, the negative emotions will return.
The best way to work through this emotional eating trigger is to feel these unpleasant emotions differently. Remind yourself that emotions, even strong ones, are only temporary and that they will pass in time. You can also use other ways to distract or work through your emotions, such as writing, painting, exercising, or talking to someone about how you feel.
Simple trick: Try putting on some music! Create a go-to playlist that makes you feel good, gives you energy, and uplifts you.
Emotional eating is a common problem that many of us face every day. It is important to take steps to understand and address your emotional eating so that you can find better ways to cope with intense emotions, boredom or fatigue. Overcoming emotional eating is not easy, so it is important to be understanding of yourself on this journey. You will probably not be able to give up every bad eating habit in one day. Take it slow and practice addressing these common emotional eating triggers. Awareness of the trigger is a very important step in overcoming emotional eating. Go through this list whenever you feel the urge to soothe yourself with food.